Monday, September 3, 2007

The Big Daddy Of Them All


First of all, I far from a hardcore FPS player, in fact only recently have I been playing them on the 360. Before that I really wasn’t into them at all. While I have played Halo on the first X-box, and enjoyed it, I still never really liked the genre that much. Just wanted to get that I am not an expert on the whole FPS genre out of the way first. But enough about me, let’s take a look at this true to its hype gem, Bioshock.

Bishock isn’t your standard FPS; it isn’t about just kicking tail, not that it is lacking in that department, it is really about telling a great story. Bioshock takes the medium, the video game, and uses it to the fullest to tell a deep, compelling, interesting story. I am going to do my best not to spoiler the story for you if you have not had the pleasure of playing Bioshock, but if you are extra sensitive about what you want to know maybe you can skip the next paragraph or two.

(Some Spoilers-pretty minor but skip if you really, really care!)
The game starts you out on a plane in 1960 with some inner monologue, followed by a plane crash. (By the way if you are reading this and have no clue what I am talking about then please do the following steps: 1) turn on your 360, or go to google 2) go to demos tab in live locate Bioshock, or type Bioshock demo into google search function 3) download and write me a thank note for Christmas.) After crash landing into the ocean you find a small island; in this island you find the path to “Rapture.” (dramatic isn’t it?) Rapture is a city deep in the ocean, so right off the bat you see that Bioshock is going to be something different. It is basically a sci-fi story set in 1960, and as soon as you get your first glimpse of Rapture, it sends off a 60s underwater, “Blade-Runner” vibe. Which is just plain out awesome when you think about it!

Once you arrive to Rapture via sub, you are thrown right into the fire, scary baddies in front you and no means to defend yourself. Luckily you find a clunky radio transmitter, which is where almost all of the character interaction takes place throughout the game. Now with radio in hand your guide talks you through getting a weapon and other means to defend yourself. But even as you get out of the sub it is easy to see that Rapture has been having a bit of a civil problem. These aspects are where Bioshock shines so brightly; you don’t really have somebody telling you “Rapture has been going through civil strife blah, blah, blah…”, but instead the evidence of such events lay in plain sight before you. Of course as you journey onward you find tape journals that tell small tidbits, as you are able to start piecing together the disturbing puzzle of what happened in Rapture city. (All this story and atmosphere and this is a shooter?)

I don’t really want to say much more about story, but I will say this, it is awesome. Combined with the fact that it is graphically beautiful and you have the recipe for a truly rewarding gaming experience. Another thing of note is that all of the story elements play out in real-time instead of being told through a cut-scene of sorts. (Half-Life 2 is another FPS game that does this and does it well) For me this style of storytelling made the immersion that more complete; simply because I never lost contact with my character, I was always him. The only thing that could have hurt this game would have been poor game mechanics. But fear not; Bioshock’s controls are so slick and polished, once you wrap you brain around the button layout it becomes second nature to play. And for the last point I wanted to make before I wrap this up is about Bioshock’s sound. Top-notch, you can hear almost everything from Big Daddies’ booming footsteps, to a can rolling across the floor. This really sets the tone in each area you are in and puts you deeper in this world that you are exploring.

In short there is no reason not to have this game in your gaming library. If you are like me and aren’t really into shooters; there is more than enough thinking and character customization in Bioshock to make you a giddy idiot. (I practically wet myself). The story and the way it is presented is nothing short of genius. I couldn’t stop playing until I finished the game and I have not been that captivated by a game, from start to finish, in quite some time. I can see how this game got perfect scores on a lot of major media sites, it is that good

No comments: